Dave Dombrowski’s addition of Craig Kimbrel is a significant upgrade for a Red Sox bullpen that ranked 26th in bullpen ERA last season.
By William Chase
The Boston Red Sox pulled off among the first major blockbuster trades of the offseason.
Reports broke Friday night that closer Craig Kimbrel would be on the move from the San Diego Padres to the Boston Red Sox; Dave Dombrowski making his first marquee move for Boston since taking over as President of Baseball Operations. The Sox will send four prospects San Diego’s way.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 14, 2015
The knock on Dombrowski has been his struggle with piecing together a strong bullpen during his tenure as a GM, most notably with the Detroit Tigers. Of course now the knock might be the amount of top prospects San Diego was able to pry away from Boston for Kimbrel.
Kimbrel is a solid pickup for a Sox team who finished 26th in the majors in bullpen ERA last season, and finished with an MLB-worst relief corps WAR of -1.4 — one of four teams with a negative bullpen war.
The Sox as a team only converted 40 out of 61 save opportunities last season.
Kimbrel had a slightly higher ERA in 2015 than usual (2.58) but still put together a solid season, saving 39 out of 43 opportunities.
Boston still has a lot of work to do, but acquiring a piece in the form of Craig Kimbrel to slot in at the back-end of the bullpen shores up a weak spot from last season.
Kimbrel is currently in the middle of a four-year contract, and is owed $11 million next season and $13 million in 2017. The Red Sox have a club option on Kimbrel for 2018.
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